“If either Donald Trump or Hillary Clinton becomes president, and one of them is very likely to be, I think Berkshire will continue to do fine,” Buffett, 85, said at the company’s annual shareholders meeting Saturday in Omaha, Nebraska.
The outcome of November’s presidential election is unlikely to change the fact that the U.S. is a “remarkably attractive place in which to conduct a business,” he said. U.S. companies have enjoyed “terrific” returns on equity despite a sustained period of ultra-low interest rates, he added.
Trump and Clinton are their parties’ respective front-runners in a campaign that has exposed discontent with Washington insiders, anger over global trade deals, frustration with Wall Street and furor over the growing gap between rich and poor. At the same time, each candidate’s unfavourable rating exceeds 50 percent, a historically high figure at this late stage in the primary season.
Buffett, who endorsed Democrat Clinton at an Omaha rally in December, looked past the current voter angst for a longer view of U.S. economic prospects.
“Twenty years from now, there’ll be far more output per capita in the United States in real terms than there is now. In 50 years, it’ll be far more,” Buffett said. “No presidential candidate or president is going to end that. They can shape it in ways that are good or bad, but they can’t end it.”
Asked how a Trump presidency might affect Berkshire’s business, Buffett replied, “That won’t be the main problem.” He didn’t elaborate.
The son of a former Republican congressman, Buffett is courted by Democratic politicians who seek to benefit from his credibility among the economic elite and advocacy for the middle class and poor.
The billionaire has championed Democratic causes through his career such as abortion rights and increased taxes on the wealthy. When he threw his support behind Clinton, he praised her commitment to the less affluent, and has also helped her raise campaign funds. Buffett has criticized Republican Trump and said Americans shouldn’t be misled by politicians suggesting the country is in decline.